How to make one-day matches unmissable

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When players are preparing for the World Cup by NOT playing, spectators adopt a similar approach

We woke up this morning and just lay there. We knew there was cricket on, but we didn’t jump up. We’re getting a new mattress next week and currently it feels like we’re sleeping on a slight incline, constantly in danger of being rolled out of one side of the bed. It’s not great for lie-ins.

When we did get up, we were presented with a decent one-day match – low-scoring and competitive enough that you couldn’t confidently pick a winner until fairly late on. Even so, we soon found ourself getting side-tracked, wandering the internet and making a million cups of tea.

There is too much cricket – this is by no means news – but our experience this morning sums the situation up. Even the people watching don’t particularly care. The matches aren’t events. They’re not unmissable.

The opposite of this was the Ashes. When you think everyone else is watching something, you want to watch too.

Between the Ashes and the World Cup

You might say that it would be hard to make a one-day series between Australia and England unmissable when it falls between the Ashes and the World Cup, but that’s not true.

Firstly and most obviously, seven matches is too many. The series as a whole has a certain amount of importance and  each match has one seventh of that. A three- or five-match series would be just as important overall, but each fixture would be that much more vital.

World Cup build-up

A three-match series might have encouraged the two teams to field their best XIs a bit more often as well. Who really wants to watch an international match to gauge depth of talent and squad strength?

It would also be good if this series were part of the World Cup build-up. You might think it is, being as the World Cup’s the next major event, but it’s not. The World Cup build-up begins on February the 19th with the group stages.

With respect to Canada, Kenya, Ireland and the Netherlands, it is basically going to take 42 matches to see whether Zimbabwe or Bangladesh can spring a little bit of a surprise by preventing one of the big eight getting to the quarter finals. There will be squad rotation and low-key matches. That is not a World Cup as we understand the concept.

It is common to dismiss the chances of a cohesive fixture list ever being produced on the grounds that faceless administrators are only bothered about the bottom line. While that’s certainly true to some extent, we also wonder whether those with the power to change things have even a basic understanding of the reasons why people watch sport?

We need a reason to get out of bed.


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  1. I like canapés, and the hors d’œuvre, if done well, can generate real anticipation for a good meal. But once you’ve had the lobster thermidore, a few small biscuits and a prawn cocktail aren’t ever going to excite you. It’s all a question of timing.

  2. It should definitely be a 5 game series. Then you could play the matches all on consecutive days and get them over with in a reasonable time. And is the artificial 50 over limit really necessary? Just let each team have say….2 innings each in the 5 days. They should try it as a format. It might catch on.

    I reserve the right to enjoy the world cup, but only after the first month is up and the small biscuits and prawn cocktails have eventually been eliminated.

  3. It would have been nice to have two meaningful series – three 20/20 games and three ODIs would have been a cracking little buffet.

  4. I’ll pass on your nancy boy Lobster Thermidore and raise you a Beef Wellington followed by Spotted Dick with thick custard

  5. Hmmm. Seeing as the plans are a bit less insane than usual, and only the venues of the QFs are rigged, rather than the acutal match ups, I don’t think I’d say the 42 matches are only bout who makes the QFs. I’d much rather finish first than fourth in a group.

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